Monthly Archives: January 2011

First Class is where I belong…. really.

“The temperature is all right sir?  Too warm, a little too cold perhaps?”

The beautiful blonde flight attendant is clearly concerned with my well-being, and who am I to argue?

Thirty thousand feet below me, the green and brown Polish countryside is laid out in perfectly checkered summer patterns as far as I can see.  The day is clear and sunny and I am the only person in the first class section of LOT Polish Airlines flight 341, Warsaw to Nice.

“Maybe it’s a bit warm for you?”  her bottomless blue eyes yearn to please.

“Thank you no, really it’s perfect” I respond with, I hope, just the right amount of affected insouciance.

Smiling demurely, she disappears.

I lean back in my oversized chair, close jet-lagged eyes, and mentally applaud the decision to donate a substantial number of hard-earned frequent flyer miles to the rarefied, seldom breathed air of first class.  This is not how I usually travel (OK, I never travel this way), but it’s obvious to me now that first class is exactly where I belong.

Really.

The lightest touch on my shoulder.  “Sir, I was just wondering….

Something catches her attention and we both turn to see Continue reading

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The Location of Bertani’s Restaurant

To_Catch_a_Thief-1955-MSS-x12-1An early scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief takes place at Bertani’s restaurant.

Bertani, played by French actor Charles Vanel, is a former member of the French Resistance who, alongside John Robie (Cary Grant’s character), fought against the Germans in World War 2.

Several Le Stuff readers have asked about the location of the restaurant and if there actually was, or is, a real restaurant there.

I’ll try to clear up the mystery.


Bertani (left) with John Robie (Cary Grant) and Foussard

The terrace scene was filmed on the western edge of Continue reading

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Jean Pascal’s Wine Corner: Grilled Fish, Vegetables, and Fingerling Potatoes

My good friend Jean Pascal is a Sommelier/Consultant who runs a successful business in the south of France specializing in the wines of Provence and the Cote D’Azur.  He has forgotten more about Claret, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet than I will ever learn in my lifetime, but has graciously agreed to let me take full advantage of his expertise here at Le Stuff.

Need some wine advice?

Leave your questions for Jean Pascal in the comments section….

Jean Pascal subscribes to Le Stuff…. why don’t you?
It’s easy, just click here.

JP will be joining us on The French Riviera in June for the Mini Cooper Driving Adventure!

Today’s question comes from Noel:
Any suggestions for a meal of grilled white fish (Halibut) with lightly sauteed vegetables and roasted fingerling potatoes? A light dry Rose perhaps? Thanks again for your help.
Hi Noel,

 For your grilled Halibut with lightly sauteed vegetables and roasted fingerling potatoes, your choice of a light dry rosé is not bad at all. The important things to watch for are

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Filed under Dining and Wine, JP's Wine Corner

Le Stuff Links

I’ve done my fair share of Internet surfing lately and thought I might let you in on a few of my discoveries.

All of these, of course, are south of France related…. so enjoy.

1) “The 19 Most Complex and Dangerous Roads in the World”
OK, what does this have to do with the south of France?  Well, as any Le Stuff reader should know by now I love driving – so much so that I’ve put together a Mini Cooper Driving Tour featuring the number one road in this article – the awesome col de Turini!

2) I’ve been resourcing Provence & Beyond for years.
Need information on area villages, sports, gastronomy, etc.?
There is not a more comprehensive site covering the south of France on the web.  Check it out and if you’re not impressed, I’ll buy you a beer.

3) Julie Mautner is an American writer who has lived and worked in S.t Remy de Provence since 1999.  Her blog, The Provence Post, is chock full of fun stories, recommendations, and gossip.  Don’t miss her guest post series “The Cocktail Drinkers Guide to Gardening” by good friend James Clay.

4) “How To Make That French Vacation More Affordable”
A good, common sense article by Jerry Lanson over at True/Slant.
I found the link on “The Provence Post”

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Filed under Misc., Tips

Jean Pascal’s Wine Corner: Hamburger and Fries

My good friend Jean Pascal is a highly skilled Sommelier/Consultant who runs a successful business in the south of France specializing in the wines of Provence and the Cote D’Azur.  He has forgotten more about ClaretPinot Noir, and Cabernet than I will ever learn in my lifetime, but has graciously agreed to let me take full advantage of his expertise here at Le Stuff.

Need some wine advice?

Leave your questions for Jean Pascal in the comments section….

Jean Pascal subscribes to Le Stuff…. why don’t you?
It’s easy, just click here.

The Meal:
Hamburger (medium rare) with french fries.

Jean Pascal’s Selection(s):

Red :
Château Plaisance 2008.  A.O.C. Fronton.
8 Euros.

Grape varieties:
Negrette (local grape variety), Syrah, Cabernet-Franc.  Located in the Tarn region in South-west of France.

J.P. says:
A deep red color, genuine, very well-balanced with some Continue reading

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Filed under Dining and Wine, JP's Wine Corner

Le Stuff on The BBC!

Before Alfred Hitchcock could cast Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in his blockbuster film “To Catch A Thief”, American author David Dodge had to write the novel.  His book was inspired by an actual burglary that took place next door to the Villa Noel Fleuri, a house Dodge had rented for his family in the south of France in the early 1950’s.

In September of 2010, bravely fighting my way through the warm sun and delicious food of the Cote D’Azur, I joined writer (and expert detective) Jean Buchanan in her search for the mysterious villa.  Randal Brandt, a Dodge expert with no equal, provided invaluable assistance from his home-base at the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley.

Listen to the program here.

Learn more here.

Like what you see?  Subscribe to Le Stuff here.

The following text is from the BBC Radio 4 website.

The American thriller and travel-writer, David Dodge (1910-1974), is best known for his 1952 novel To Catch A Thief, which Hitchcock turned into an iconic film three years later. Unusually for Hitchcock, half the film was shot on location, and the Riviera is as much a star as Grace Kelly (in her final film – she met Prince Rainier during a publicity shoot and became Princess of Monaco) and Cary Grant (whom Hitchcock tempted out of retirement with this script).

Dodge’s book was inspired by a real incident when he briefly became the number 1 suspect for a daring cat-burglary at Continue reading

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Filed under Films, Misc., To Catch A Thief